Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Planning, Scheming, Dreaming

Such is the life of the Globetrekker family...reminds me of an episode of My So-Called Life in which the young girl, swooning after her first makeout session with Jordan Catalano, says in a voice over "suddenly, my whole life was separated into two main activities: Kissing, and Not Kissing."

And so we, who have fallen ill with Ye Olde Travel Bug, are either Traveling or Not Traveling.

But when we are Not Traveling, we are Planning. And that's nearly as fun. Right now we have several potential trips in the works.

The BIG ONE is a possible family trip to China about a year from now--still waiting to get the estimate on that one from Lotus Travel.

I also contacted a dear high school friend, R, to see whether she might be up for a 40th birthday trip next summer, just a crazy long weekend either just the two of us, or perhaps with a few other mischief-loving old friends. Vegas...London...the Bahamas...Mohonk Mountain House...who knows??

Then there's New York City in May for the big publishing / audio book conference...John wants to catch a Mark Knopfler concert in Red Bank, NJ in May as well, so we may be tag-teaming so one of us can be home with JieJie and MeiMei.

There are other ways to travel vicariously, of course...I am following a JMU student's Semester in Antwerp blog, reliving some of the places we visited, and enjoying her impressions of those places. She's having a good time and is also truly appreciating the sights, sounds, and tastes of Europe, so it's nice to read. They went to Strasbourg and had tarte flambe...sigh.

Last Monday I missed Antwerp so much (must've been the chilly, rainy weather, ha ha) that I declared a personal Belgium Day. I e-mailed Ie in Antwerp, listened to radio2.be and refreshed my Dutch, went to Google Maps and looked at satellite views of all my favorite places, went to immoweb.be and picked out a great house for us to live in down by the great art museum (Ie says she'd be happy to check it out for us, but alas, it's just a pipe dream for now)--the style of house is actually called a MANSION which made me laugh, since it's in our price range so you know it's not the same meaning we ascribe to that word, eh? And finally, I looked up a recipe for tomatensoep met balletjes (tomato meatball soup) and whipped up a batch. It was YUMMY and the girls recognized it, so I didn't make too much mess of the thing...interestingly, the key ingredients that make it different from just plain tomato soup, as far as I could tell, were some beef bouillon cubes that gave it a darker, richer flavor; and a couple of potatoes, which cut the acidity of the tomatoes when they were pureed into the broth. The balletjes were so easy to make, I used up a whole bunch of meat and froze dozens of them to pop into soups down the road.

Meanwhile, Ie says that her favorite British cooking show host Jamie Oliver has just come out with an American cookbook and she wants to get it and try some recipes. Grass is always greener, eh?

Which is why, to bring things full circle, we travel. To see new shades of green on someone else's grass, and to restore our appreciation of the green, green grass of home. Awwww.

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